The Immune System Essay

998 words - 4 pages

How does structure facilitate function?The layered, expansive structure of the immune system facilitates its function to protect the body. The immune system is a group of cells, molecules, and organs that act together to defend the body against foreign invaders that may cause disease, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi (Starr 582). The health of the body is dependent on the immune system's ability to recognize and then repel or destroy these invaders. The layers of immunity defense include innate immunity, adaptive immunity, humoral immunity, and cell-mediated immunity (Immune System March 2001). Our bodies require all of these immunity defenses just to keep us healthy daily. If we were missing the immune system in any part of our body, we would most likely not live very long.There are several different parts which make up the whole immune system. White blood cells make up a large part of the immune system. Some white blood cells, known as macrophages, play an important role in adaptive immunity in that they attach to invading antigens and deliver them to be destroyed by other components of the adaptive immune system. Lymphocytes are specialized white blood cells whose function is to identify and destroy invading antigens. Some lymphocytes mature in the bone marrow and are called B lymphocytes or B cells. B cells make antibodies, which circulate through the blood and other body fluids, binding to antigens and helping to destroy them in humoral immune responses. Another type of lymphocyte, called T lymphocytes or T cells, mature in the thymus, a small gland located behind the breastbone. Some T cells, called killer T cells, generate cell-mediated immune responses, directly destroying cells that have specific antigens on their surface that are recognized by the killer T cells. Helper T cells, a second kind of T lymphocyte, regulate the immune system by controlling the strength and quality of all immune responses. Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins called immunoglobulins and are made only by B cells. Antibodies destroy antigens by binding to them. (The Immune System)Innate immunity is the body's first line of defense against all invaders, or antigens. Innate immunity is made of barriers such as skin, tears, mucus, and saliva, as well as by the inflammation of tissues that takes place shortly after injury or infection. These innate immune mechanisms slow the entrance and spread of disease but can rarely prevent disease completely. If an invader gets past this first line of defense, the cells, molecules, and organs of the immune system develop specific defenses against the invader. The immune system can call upon these defenses whenever this particular invader attacks again in the future. These specifically adapted defenses are known as adaptive immunity. Adaptive immunity has four main properties: First, it responds only after the invader is present. Second, it is specific, tailoring each response to act only on a specific type of invader. Third, it...

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